Saturday, 11 February 2017

The Things I Should Have Told You - Carmel Harrington

About the book… 

Every family has a story…But for the Guinness family a happy ending looks out of reach. Olly and Mae's marriage is crumbling, their teenage daughter Evie is on a mission to self-destruct and their beloved Pops is dying of cancer. Their once strong family unit is slowly falling apart.

But Pops has one final gift to offer his beloved family – a ray of hope to cling to. As his life's journey draws to a close, he sends his family on an adventure across Europe in a camper van, guided by his letters, his wisdom and his love.

Because Pops knows that all his family need is time to be together, to find their love for each other and to find their way back home…

‘Carmel Harrington…will make you see life in a different way’ Woman’s Way

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About the author… 

Irish Times Bestseller, Carmel Harrington is an award winning author from Co. Wexford, where she lives with her husband and two children, Amelia (6) and Nate (4).

The Things I Should Have Told You (HarperCollins), was published in September 2016. Her page-turning novels are to be published worldwide, translated into eight different languages. 

Carmel is the Chairperson of Wexford Literary Festival, of which she co-founded. She is a regular on Irish TV, as one of the panelists on TV3’s Midday show. She is also a guest panelist and book reviewer for South East Radio’s Morning Mix and writes feature articles for many newspapers and magazines. A popular keynote speaker she has given talks in Ireland, UK & USA.

A stay at home mum, Carmel juggled babies and books to become a success story in the digital publishing world with the digital first imprint Harper Impulse. Every Time A Bell Rings, The Life You Left and Kindle Book of The Year & Romantic eBook of the Year - Beyond Grace’s Rainbow were all eBook bestsellers. 

But her dream to be published traditionally has now come true, with her move to HarperFiction. The Things I Should Have Told You is her first trade paperback and is on sale in bookshops nationwide. It follows in audio format December 2016 and mass paperback in UK & Ireland January 2017. Foreign translations have been sold to Hungary, Finland, Norway and Sweden so far. 

Carmel has been dubbed the Queen of Emotional Writing and has been compared to one of her heroes, Maeve Binchy. She writes with warmth and compassion about characters so believable that they could be sitting beside you.

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My thoughts…

I was given a copy of this book by Jaime Frost at harper Collins in exchange for an honest review, something which I'm more than happy to do.  Carmel Harrington is an author that makes you live inside her books, from the very first page you'll be hooked.

Olly, Mae, Evie and Jamie are a family that are on the brink of totally falling apart.  Nobody is communicating properly with each other all all bar Jamie are so entrenched in their own problems that they shut each other out.  Olly was made redundant and became a house husband, Mae feels redundant as both a wife and mother and daughter Evie has a near death experience which pulls the family up short.  Pops, Ollie's dad lives with them and is terminally ill, watching his family disintegrate before his eyes is just too much for him to bear.  On the day of his funeral they open a letter for him that will change their lives forever. He knows what a lovely, tight knot family they once were and wants to give them the chance to find themselves and each other again - he sends them on an eight week adventure across Europe in 'Nomad' the camper van. To say it's a shock and they're not all happy at the thought of spending eight weeks in a confined space would be an understatement.

This book is magical, it made me cry so many times I lost count, it made me smile continuously and laugh out loud at some of the scenario's they found themselves in.  Carmel has created characters that will pull at your heart strings and she takes us on a journey of discovery both of places and experiences and about the Guinness family too. It is a book that won't fail to make you look at your own life too.

Life is too short, it should be filled with happy memories and talking openly and honestly all the time would alleviate many problems.  Inevitably life takes it's toll on relationships and family but love, laughter and communication is key.  We all take our friends and family and the things they do for us for granted but Carmel Harrington, through The Things I Should Have Told You, highlights the importance of taking the time to say little things that let people know how much you care and appreciate them and the things they do for us and most importantly filling your life with experiences, removing the mental barriers that stop us.

I have a caravan and my husband has often suggested taking it to Europe and I've always got a reason not to.  I so want to go now.  Reading this book and living the Guinness family life was so uplifting. The places that the Guinness family visit and the experiences they have on the way are described in such a way I feel I was there. I've sat on a campsite and people watched, sniggering at the 'newbies, setting up and trying to encourage a sullen, teenager into trying new food - been there, it wasn't a success.  I thought it was just us!  

I highly recommend this book, it is my favourite read of Carmel Harrington's and is a book that you can't fail to fall in love with - from the characters to the journey across Europe - I'm off now to get the maps out and make some plans.

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